Can the EV fend off the German challenge without Ludicrous mode?

We’ve watched many Tesla drag races here at Motor1.com, and much to the dismay of internal combustion fans, the immediate torque of an electric motor usually wins the day. However, the racing we typically see involves the Model S in P100D trim outfitted with Ludicrous mode. The team at The Fast Lane Car has a slightly less potent Tesla Model 3 without the high-performance upfit, but that still doesn’t mean the car is slow. In fact, it runs consistently in the mid-12-second range – fast enough to compete with a whole host of unsuspecting high-performance rides.

For this particular drag strip adventure, the Model 3 faces a pair of orange BMWs. Specfically, the first challenger is a BMW M2 Competition with its 405-horsepower (302-kilowatt) 3.0-liter turbo inline six, and as it turns out, this M-infused Bimmer is a very close match for the Model 3. In fact, the BMW wins the first of two races by a healthy margin, though the victory can be chalked up to driver error as the Tesla had a positively horrid reaction time. As for the second M2-versus-Model 3 showdown, we’ll let the video do the talking but this time, reaction times are much closer. And so is the racing action.

Gallery: Tesla VS BMW Drag Race

The second BMW challenge is far more formidable, taking the form of a six-figure 8 Series and specifically, the M850i with its twin-turbo 523-hp (390-kW) V8. On paper, the big GT car is considerably quicker than the M2 on all fronts so if the Model 3 had a challenge with the smaller competitor, the 8 Series could be a bit too much. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point-of-view) driver error reared its head again, as a missed shift in the M850 allowed the Tesla to achieve an easy victory.

The goof-up meant a second run was in store for this matchup as well, and though we usually don’t spoil the outcome, it really wasn’t a contest. Teslas are strong at launch with immediate electric torque, but the Bimmer was stronger and took an instant lead from which the Model 3 could never recover. However, the video does point out that the M850 is more than twice the cost of the Tesla, making this competition something of an apples-to-oranges affair. Still, winning is winning.